Rep. Bill Sutton of Gardner said today that the Gardner Edgerton School District will lose $2.73 million a year from the property tax abatement that the City of Edgerton negotiated with the Kansas City Logistics Park under the watch of the current mayor.
Over the life of the existing abatements, the loss comes to $27.3 million, he said, adding that this is the equivalent of 1,700 homes (valued at $200,000 each) not paying a dime to the school district.
Sutton is seeking re-election to a third term in the Kansas House from the 43rd District. He is being challenged by Roberts in the Aug, 2 primary election.
“Mayor Don Roberts has already lost $2.73 million for the school district,” said Sutton, a Republican. “We can’t afford a Representative Roberts.”
He also pointed out that the school district was never consulted regarding the abatements or the economic impact study regarding them. The abatements provided to the logistics park resulted in an 88 percent reduction in its property taxes. These figures not only reflect the impact to the school district but also the fire district and water district as well.
“That’s why I’m proposing legislation to require school districts, fire districts and water districts to approve the portion of an abatement that will impact them,” Sutton said.
While that money will be lost to the school district, Sutton has been working in the legislature to see that the school district receives its fair share of state education dollars. He is currently vice chairman of the House Education Budget Committee.
For example, in that capacity Sutton worked this year to protect the district’s ability to use the $17 million approved by voters last spring. He made sure that House Bill 2655 was amended, prompting USD 231 Superintendent Pam Stranathan to write, “It was comforting to know that you were working to address language changes that will provide a tremendous benefit to our staff and students.”
He has also worked with school districts for the last two years to develop cost-saving purchasing possibilities and laying the ground work for the new school finance formula.
During the Special Session, Representative Sutton was part of the coalition that negotiated with school superintendents to solve the issue surrounding the remaining 1% of education funding.
Following the successful completion of these negotiations, Todd White, Blue Valley Superintendent of Schools wrote: “It is my hope that the relationships and collaboration that began in January and culminated last week will continue as our discussion turns to the creation of the school finance formula that serves all students in the state of Kansas. We look forward to working with you again during the 2016-17 legislative session.”